Posted on 12 November 2011.
I want to compliment Lara Kirkner on her article “Not So Gently Down the Stream” (10/29/11). The article explores issues surrounding the controversy about whether tailrace water from the Edison-owned Lundy powerhouse that currently flows down Wilson Creek should be directed instead to Mill Creek via a proposed pipeline. The article provides a good overview of a very complicated issue. However, a recent Letter to the Editor by Paul McFarland (11/5/11) suggests that some readers would benefit from more facts before reaching conclusions about the merits of proposals to increase flows in Mill Creek and reduce them in Wilson Creek.
I have participated in several legal proceedings regarding the Mill/Wilson Creek issue and offer the following additional information for your readers to consider: 1) both Mill Creek and Wilson Creek have year-round flows that enter Mono Lake near Black Point; 2) both Mill Creek and Wilson Creek may play an important part in sustaining a large wetland where the two creeks enter Mono Lake, and no environmental analysis has been done to determine if the wetland would shrink if flows in Wilson Creek were greatly reduced; 3) reducing flows in Wilson Creek in order to increase them in Mill Creek could eliminate the self-sustaining wild brown trout fishery in Wilson Creek, depending upon the amount of flow reduction and timing of flow reduction in Wilson Creek; 4) the delta at the mouth of Wilson Creek has been identified by a waterfowl expert who filed a declaration at a FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) hearing saying it provided superior waterfowl habitat compared to the delta at the mouth of Mill Creek; 5) in the expert opinion of a licensed hydrologist, reducing flows in Wilson Creek could have a detrimental effect on the recharge of community wells serving Mono City and the Conway Ranch subdivision, and this issue should be studied prior to altering flows; 6) the fish rearing operation on Conway Ranch (which belongs to Mono County) utilizes water rights exercised off Wilson Creek and depending upon the time of year that the proposed pipeline would be used to move water away from Wilson Creek, the fish rearing operation could be detrimentally affected; 7) the 50 cubic feet per second (cfs) pipeline that SCE would build to allow transfer of large volumes of water to Mill Creek is not a “repair” of its hydropower facility, but is a new facility that would replace a much smaller earth-lined ditch that has been in place since the hydro plant was built in the early 1900s; 8) it is erroneous to say there is “no legal basis” for the current system of water allocation which resulted from a Superior Court decree (the “DeChambeau decree”) in the early 1900s; 9) the “natural flows” of Mill Creek would not be restored by transferring water in the proposed pipeline because the creek lies below Lundy dam and water will legally continue to be stored in Lundy Lake rather than following the natural hydrograph.
It is worth noting that the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is the agency with authority to decide if and when a reallocation of flows between Wilson and Mill Creek can occur. In “Order Water Rights 98-05” issued in 1998, this agency stated: “Any proposal to significantly alter the distribution of flows between Mill Creek and Wilson Creek must be preceded by an appropriate environmental document which fully addresses potential environmental impacts. In accordance with Water Code sections … and the California Constitution, the State Water Resources Control Board has authority to review the environmental impacts, public interest considerations, and reasonableness of any future proposals to restore flows to Mill Creek by diversion of water presently used elsewhere.”
No non-profit group or other entity has the legal authority to decide how flows should be allocated between Mill Creek and Wilson Creek — this authority is reserved for the SWRCB. Efforts to reallocate flows without going to the SWRCB for approval are simply a scheme to circumvent a public process. Both Mono County and the People for Mono Basin Preservation have consistently advocated for nothing more nor less than compliance with existing environmental laws.
Katie Maloney Bellomo
Thanks for S
On behalf of the students and staff at Mammoth Elementary School, I would like to extend heartfelt gratitude to the community for the overwhelming support of Measure S.
Having come from a large school district with many more human and financial resources, I am constantly amazed how we “do more with less” in our community. The additional funding that will come to our district as a result of the passage of Measure S will help to keep our class sizes lower, and provide the resources to provide enriching educational experiences to all students in our district.
During the campaign period, I was saddened to hear some wildly inaccurate information about the financial situation and organizational makeup of our school district, as well as Measure S itself. Mammoth Elementary School’s doors are open to anyone who would like to visit to see the amazing things going on in our classrooms, despite our limited resources. I host regular “Second Cup of Coffee” meetings on the first Tuesday of every month, and would like to extend an invitation to the entire community to attend and ask any questions they may have about our programs, teachers, and administration.
All controversy aside, the Measure S money is both a blessing and a necessity for MUSD, and I thank everyone who worked so diligently toward its passage and voted yes.
Rosanne A. Lampariello
Principal, Mammoth Elementary
On behalf of the Measure S Committee, I would like to thank the community of Mammoth for rallying to support our students and continue to invest in our schools.
Measure S has always been a grassroots effort that depends entirely on local volunteers from our Mammoth community. Dozens of teachers and administrators at all three schools sacrificed many hours of their personal time to make calls and stuff envelopes. Parents and community members put pen to paper, got the word out, and helped hold up signs on street corners. Teachers and parents, thank you!
Also, many thanks to Rusty and Bonnie Gregory, Dan Dawson and the NOW Foundation, and our MES PTO, MMSO, and Boosters parent organizations for stepping up to help with this incredibly important effort.
Finally, I extend my deepest appreciation to the Measure S team. Gloria, Greg, Stacey, and Terri, you are all wonderful!
I am so proud to be a part of the Mammoth community…
Measure S Committee
Join the mob!
The MHS Boosters plan on orchestrating a Flash Mob towards the middle to end of next month at Vons during rush hour. Then possibly taking the show on the road to Canyon Lodge and Main Lodge at the lunch hour. We may also consider the Village on a Friday night.
Allison Page McDonell is the choreographer of the dance. We are just starting to teach the dance to the public (starting with students). I will be posting an instructional video on You Tube so that members of the community who would like to participate can learn the dance at home if they are unable to attend our rehearsals (TBA). Spencer Myers edited the music which is a mash up of holidays songs in different genres. The music is about 3 minutes in length.
The idea is to give the tourist a feel-good moment and then ask for donations for the High School through the Boosters. It’s simply another twist on fundraising and an attempt to get into different pockets instead of always putting our hand out to the usual suspects. It’s also a fun way to get together different members of the community for a joint effort which will benefit our local kids.
If people would like more information, they can email me at HeidiPresson@earthlink.net.
Help us seniors
Dear Mr. Lunch:
We have been spending our summers up in the Mammoth Lakes area for many years in our motor home. We buy all of our supplies such as food, gasoline and propane for local merchants and patronize local restaurants.
We are continuously harassed by the Forest Service with stay limits in campgrounds or dispersed camping. It would be nice to be left alone. Maybe some of these merchants could help fight for us. We are seniors and retired on social security.
This year there is a proposal to cut the stay limit in Glass Creek campground from 42 days to 21. Also, other free camps such as Upper and Lower Deadman and Hartley Springs have been closed! All this is not going well with us seniors that live down in the desert.